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Constantly Kind History Story: Huria Matenga       © Jenny Jenkins 2015         https://sites.google.com/site/valueslessons
(Show Image 1) The morning sky was black and stormy as Hemi peered out of his home. Wind-whipped raindrops stung his face. A breaker boomed on the beach below. Suddenly a shout rang through the pa, “There’s a ship on the rocks! Ship on the rocks!”
Hemi’s wife Huria hurried to the doorway. “We must help,” Hemi cried. They drew cloaks around their shoulders and ran out into the storm.
On the cliff-top Hemi leaned into the gale, searching the coastline. Angry waves rolled over the sea and roared up onto the shore. “Over there!” called Huria, pointing right.

(Show Image 2) At the end of the beach a sailing ship had been driven onto the rocks, about a hundred metres offshore. A huge wave pounded against it, showering the crew with spray. Image result for sailing ship storm
As they watched, a man with a line tied to his waist swung down the side of the ship and into the water. A massive wave picked him up and crashed him against a rock. The sailors hauled up his battered body and carried it into a cabin. “Let’s go!” yelled Hemi. They scrambled down the track and along the beach. Others from the pa hurried behind them.
The waves were enormous, curling over in towering white crests and booming onto the rocky beach.
They watched a sailor take a line and threw it into the sea. Not one sailor dared to swim it to shore. Hemi took off his cloak. “Light a fire,” he said. “I’ll swim out and bring in their line.” He waded into the surf.
"No!" Huria protested, her heart pounding with fear. She watched him dive under a huge breaker, and swim towards the wreck.
“I’m coming too,” she called, splashing after him.

A wave rolled towards them, carrying broken timber from the wreck. Towering above them, it threatened to toss them back onto the rocks but they dived deep and swam under it.
For thirty minutes they fought the tide, the wind and waves driving against them. As they neared the ship the crew cheered them on. An enormous wave 
smashed into the ship, rocking it sideways. Again they dived, but the water was shallow. The wave tumbled them against the rocks, cutting and grazing their bodies. Huria came up, coughing water. She glanced around wildly, searching. The sea was empty. “Hemi!” she cried. He surfaced nearby, wincing with pain.
Huria saw the line hanging from the ship. She swam across and tied it to her waist. A great shout went up from the sailors above. Smiling shyly, she struck out for shore. 
(Show Image 3)
They swam back quickly, swept in by the wind and waves. Their friends waded out to meet them, helping them up the beach.
The sailors tied a heavy rope to the other end of the line and fed it over the side of the ship. The men on the beach stood in a row, pulling the line in. Hand over hand they dragged the rope out of the sea and tied it around a boulder. A sailor tightened his end, gripped the rope with his hands and legs and swung down into the sea. He pulled himself towards the shore. Others followed, until five bobbing heads were moving along the rope. Crack! A gigantic wave crashed into the ship breaking it in two. The rope went slack and the sailors sank under the sea. Then the ship rolled back, tightening the rope. It whipped the five sailors up into the air. One man lost his grip. He spun through the air, arms and legs waving wildly, and hit the water with a mighty splash! The sailors on the ship held their breath as the wave thundered towards him. It picked him up and swept him towards the rocks. He saw the rope, lunged for it and hung on for his life. The wave rolled on and boomed onto the shore. As the sailors neared the beach, men waded out to meet them, helping them out of the surf and up to the fire.
Huria watched the ship. The waves were pounding it, breaking it up. Pieces of wreckage bobbed in the sea and littered the beach.

The rope at her feet was wearing thin as it rubbed on the rocks. When would it break? Four sailors were left. Could they be saved?
One by one the sailors swung down the rope into the churning sea. Now only the captain remained. “Hurry!” she whispered.
The rope tightened and another strand snapped. 
(Show Image 4)
The captain, with one last glance at his vessel, swung out into space. The waves surged over him as he pulled his way along the rope. Another wave rocked the ship. Huria saw the rope stretching. More threads unravelled until just a few strands held it together.

Hemi and Huria waded into the surf and swam out to meet the captain to help him onto the beach. Suddenly the rope tightened, snapped and was wrenched from his hands. He floundered wildly in the water.

“Dive!” shouted Hemi, as the huge wave roared towards them. They pulled the captain underwater and it swept over their heads, crashing onto the rocky shore. The sailors rushed into the water, lifted the captain onto their shoulders and carried him up the beach, cheering wildly. Hemi and Huria laughed.

Women from the pa had brought down kai (food). Everyone sat around the fire, talking and eating, while their clothes steamed dry.
Hemi stood up and pointed at the wreck. “Look!” he shouted. A lone man stood on the deck, clinging to the rigging.
“Why didn’t you tell me there was a man still on board?” Hemi demanded. “We could have saved him. Now it’s too late”
The captain groaned. “It’s my mate. He tried to swim the rope in to shore before you came, but was battered on the rocks. We thought he was dead!”
The captain, waded into the sea. “Wait for low tide, Henry,” he shouted. “We can get you off then.” The captain continued to call encouragement, but the mate was getting weaker. Finally a wave swept him into the sea. 
File:Pah or fortified village of the natives in the province of New  Plymouth (Taranaki) New Zealand.jpg - Wikimedia Commons
Hemi put his arm around the captain’s shoulders and they sadly led the sailors up the hill to the pa. 
(Show Image 5) Hemi and Huria kindly offered them their home and everyone gave them blankets. 
But Hemi had one more thing to do. His bruised body aching, he mounted his horse and rode to the nearest town, Nelson, to carry the news of the ship on the rocks.

Visual Aid
Print out the images or make a powerpoint presentation from them, to help your students to visualise the story.
1. Huria: https://images.ehive.com/accounts/3001/objects/images/iasr04_3ou_l.jpg
2. Sailing ship: http://www.johnlund.com/page/7697/tall-ship-in-storm-at-sea.asp
3. Shipwreck: https://s1.yimg.com/bt/api/res/1.2/GY5PIGvOq5gM.mhIeww4Pw--/YXBwaWQ9eW5ld3M7Y2g9NTAxO2NyPTE7Y3c9NzUyO2R4PTA7ZHk9MDtmaT11bGNyb3A7aD00MjA7aWw9cGxhbmU7cT03NTt3PTYzMA--/http://media.zenfs.com/en_uk/News/TheJournal.ie/tallship-on-rocks-752x501.jpg
4. Rope: http://www.sunnyskyz.com/uploads/2014/03/rsj92-elephant-rope.jpg
5. Maori village :https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Pah_or_fortified_village_of_the_natives_in_the_province_of_New_Plymouth_(Taranaki)_New_Zealand.jpg 

© Jenny Jenkins 2015  Resources: Deeds of Daring in New Zealand by Leslie Lockerbie (Reed 1937), Hero Stories of New Zealand (p115)